New Pentagon group to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena

The Pentagon is seen on Thursday, November 4, 2021 in Arlington, Va.

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that it is establishing a new group to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), months after a U.S. intelligence report prompted calls for more research into sightings and possible signs of extraterrestrial life.

The group will spearhead the U.S.'s efforts to "detect, identify and attribute objects of interests in Special Use Airspace (SUA), and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to safety of flight and national security," according to a statement from the Pentagon.

The Department of Defense (DOD) said invasions of any airborne objects in Special Use Airspace create safety and possible national security concerns.

"DOD takes reports of incursions - by any airborne object, identified or unidentified - very seriously, and investigates each one," the Pentagon added

The new group, while under the purview of the Defense Department, will be created in collaboration with the intelligence community. The Pentagon said Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, ordered the under secretary of Defense for intelligence and security, Ronald Moultrie, to create the group.

It will be called the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, and will succeed the U.S. Navy's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.

Hicks also directed an executive council to oversee the new group. That body is comprised of the under secretary of Defense for intelligence, the director of the Joint Staff and senior officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), according to The New York Times.

In a memo to senior Pentagon leadership, Hicks said the new group is meant to "synchronize efforts across the Department and with other Federal departments and agencies" when it comes to objects of interest in Special Use Airspace.

The establishment of the group comes after ODNI released a highly anticipated report in June that said that the U.S. government has encountered 144 UAP since 2004, with almost all of them remaining a mystery.